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A Father's True Confessions

The author of Dadditude answers some common new-fatherhood questions…

Posted: 12 April 2010
by Philip Lerman

This is not recommended with such a large child. It will hurt.

Q. My wife treats me like an idiot. What should I do?
Admit it. When it comes to parenting, acknowledging that everyone knows more than you do is a good start. But then, you should get over it. Because really, great parenting is just a matter of taking your best guess and going for it with authority, even if you have no idea what the hell you're doing (which, by the way, is also how the Republicans ran the government in my country).
Of course, dads don't get nearly enough credit. Mothers are like God: after the miracle of Creation, they don't have to do much more for eternal devotion. After all, what's the value of teaching a child to throw a curve ball, as compared to "I grew you whole inside me and gave you sustenance for nine months before you were born and then fed you from my own body after that?" Yes, it's hard to compete with. After all, you don't look God in the eye and say: "Sure, you created the universe in seven days, brought light upon the firmament and gave us Penelope Cruz, but what've you done for me lately?"
That's why dads are the Rent-A-Cars of parenting. We try harder. We read stories in much funnier voices than your mother does, thank you; we trudge off to work and when we come home we roll around on the floor with the hyperactive peaking toddlers; we tuck them in at night and make up funny stories, yet we're still treated like the second-best parent? Unfair, I say! So I left the boy at the supermarket once. OK, twice. Big deal. He'll get over it. Seriously, mothers make such a big eal about these things.

Q. Is there sex after childbirth?
Less than you might hope for, but – given how tired you are – more than you can handle. Nights are lousy times, because you're so exhausted. Mornings too (well, in our house we are usually dealing with a crisis of a lost purse and the lost blue race car and the lost eye make-up and the lost green race car and the lost homework and the lost yellow race car). Mondays and Thursdays are out (the cleaning lady's here), and Wednesday afternoon (our teenager is home early from school). It turns out Tuesday at 10am and Friday 4pm are the only times free for sex. We've put it on the weekly schedule up on the refrigerator, stuck there with a Mickey Mouse magnet.

Q. Why are dads so rubbish at getting up in the night to care for the baby?
A. Madam, who let you in here? This was supposed to be between us guys. Besides, your premise is just not true. Why, just the other night, my son woke with the croup. I sat in the bathroom, gently rocking him, softly singing, 'Yes Sir That's My Baby' and… Oh, now that I think about it, that was just a dream and I slept through the whole thing.
But my point is this, sleep is overrated. Dads do get up in the night. Well they should, anyway. Let's face it, gentlemen. The icy stares you will get from your wife tomorrow beacuse you didn't get up with the baby tonight will chill your very soul and keep you awake the rest of the week anyway. So you might as well get it over with.

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fathers, fatherhood, dads, sex after childbirth, childcare

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